This week Ron DeSantis really began campaigning for President in earnest. He went to Ohio, Virginia and New Hampshire (an early primary state my sources indicate DeSantis team is not convinced he can be that competitive in vs Trump for what it’s worth) this week, while choosing not to pay a visit to Fort Lauderdale which suffered record flooding, among the worst in US history in a 24-hour period. But perhaps DeSantis was just taking his cues from national winds, as the New York and Washington DC-based media largely ignored the Fort Lauderdale floods while talking about anything and everything political.
Anyhow, we digress. DeSantis potential candidacy has been met with an aggressive effort from allies of former President Trump to hit the Florida Governor before he gets out of the box so to speak. This week Trump’s aligned SuperPAC launched an ad that hit DeSantis from the left on economics. Excusing the poor production quality and the disgusting backdrop (which is by design), the ad does seem effective.
What is very clear to me is that despite many folks invested in GOP politics having an idea of what they wanted DeSantis to be those of us in Florida know two things very well:
1- DeSantis is far more reliant on instinct than most pols. Those who think he’s a methodical, disciplined politician have not really observed him closely over time. Often his instincts are on the money, but he is still far more instinctive & impulsive than most . Instinctive pols eventually trip up which is what has happened the last month. He’s made one unforced error after another because he relies too much on his own thoughts and not that of others. For all the criticism of Trump for being impulsive, he has some very savvy operatives around him.
2- The Governor was a blank slate to the national electorate, but he is an individual who has always dependent on a protected cocoon and only talked to friendly bloggers and political activists. His media presence is poor. While liberals like to claim Trump is a product of right-wing media, he’s really not AND he will mix it up with the mainstream press. DeSantis tries to avoid them and then use surrogates to discredit their validity- that only works in a small-time circle. Some GOP activist writers/ shock jocks (Ben Shapiro for instance) and donors projected what they wanted him to be on him, but he is now being actively and aggressively defined by Trump. This means DeSantis failure to get out into mainstream media and normal political channels to define himself could be fatal. He needed to do this BEFORE Trump began urinating all over him metaphorically.
This doesn’t mean in any way shape or form DeSantis is done. But it does mean the hill he has scale is much higher than it was six weeks ago.
Couldn’t they find someone who looks more like DeSantis?